Nevada and Maine voters are about to vote on whether they will close the so called “gun show loophole” and require background checks for all gun buyers.
In the absence of a national law, eight states — California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island and Washington state — have enacted universal background checks. In five of those states, Democratic governors signed background-check legislation in the wake of an elementary school shooting in Newtown, Conn., that left 26 adults and children dead.
Two years ago, Washington state made history. It became the nation’s first state to enact new gun regulations by popular vote. Given that success, and the expected passage of more voter-approved proposals this fall, gun-control ballot measures could become more common.
“In states where lawmakers have not moved fast enough, or at all, we definitely think this is going to be a good model,” said Ari Freilich, a staff attorney at the San Francisco-based Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, which has endorsed the California and Washington state ballot measures.
Besides the proposals in Maine and Nevada, ballot measures in California and Washington state would add further restrictions on guns and ammunition. They, too, are on track to pass, according to the most recent state polls.